One pound coins via PAOne pound coins via PA


UK slides into recession after output shrinks more than expected, according to ONS

  • ONS estimates gross domestic product fell by 0.3% in fourth quarter
  • That followed decline of 0.1% in the previous three months
  • It means the economy entered a technical recession
  • Fall was partially offset by increase in vehicle rentals
  • But chancellor insists economy is ‘turning a corner’

Time 8:55 am, February 15, 2024

The UK economy slipped into a recession at the end of last year after output shrank by more than expected in the final quarter, it was announced this morning.

According to Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimates, gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.3% in the fourth quarter.

That followed a decline of 0.1% in the previous three months and means the economy entered a technical recession – defined by falling GDP in two or more consecutive quarters.

It’s the first time the UK has entered a recession since the first half of 2020, when the first Covid-19 lockdown sent the economy plunging into reverse, and it deals a blow to Rishi Sunak, who has promised to increase the economy as one of his five priorities.

Jeremy Hunt said inflation and high interest rates were behind the output fall, but he insisted the economy was ‘turning a corner’.

The chancellor of the exchequer, who is due to deliver the spring Budget on March 6, said: ‘While interest rates are high – so the Bank of England can bring inflation down – low growth is not a surprise.

‘But there are signs the British economy is turning a corner. Forecasters agree that growth will strengthen over the next few years, wages are rising faster than prices, mortgage rates are down and unemployment remains low.

‘Although times are still tough for many families, we must stick to the plan – cutting taxes on work and business to build a stronger economy.’

But shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the prime minister’s pledge to strengthen the economy was ‘in tatters’.

She said: ‘The prime minister can no longer credibly claim that his plan is working or that he has turned the corner on more than 14 years of economic decline under the Conservatives that has left Britain worse off.

‘This is Rishi Sunak’s recession and the news will be deeply worrying for families and business across Britain.’

The fourth-quarter contraction was the biggest since the first three months of 2021, at the height of the pandemic.

Most economists were forecasting a 0.1% decline in GDP between October and December.

The ONS said output fell 0.1% in December after downwardly revised growth of 0.2% in November, while the contraction in October was also worse than first thought – at 0.5% against the 0.3% fall initially estimated.

Liz McKeown, ONS director of economic statistics, said: ‘All the main sectors fell on the quarter, with manufacturing, construction and wholesale being the biggest drags on growth, partially offset by increases in hotels and rentals of vehicles and machinery.

‘The latest data showed that health and education performed less well than initially estimated in both October and November.

‘Early indications suggest they both contracted in December.

‘Retail and wholesale were the biggest overall downwards pulls on the economy in December, partially offset by growth in computer programming and manufacturing.’

Car Dealer Magazine's avatar

Car Dealer has been covering the motor trade since 2008 as both a print and digital publication. In 2020 the title went fully digital and now provides daily motoring updates on this website for the car industry. A digital magazine is published once a month.

More stories...

MFL Advert
Server 108